Month: November 2010

Writerly Wednesday

  • A couple weeks ago, Lydia Sharp turned an old nursery rhyme into a fantastic analogy about writing styles. Are you a Butcher, a Baker, or a Candlestick Maker?

    I’m a Candlestick Maker, for sure, but it took years of being a Baker, and then months of trying to be a Butcher, before I finally realized and accepted that. It took several more weeks before I could actually embrace it.

    On that note… Honestly I think NaNoWriMo is great, but because it’s a celebration of/for Butchers, I often find myself working extra hard in November, even if I’m not participating, as I try to resist the backward slide of wanting to be a type of writer that I’m not.

  • SF/F writer Diana Wynne Jones discusses “Two kinds of writing?” (originally published in 1990, which means things may have changed… or not):

    For children, if I want to send a decrepit starship full of witches to a quasi-monastery in another adjacent universe, no one turns a hair. But adults are handicapped by terminal assumptions about what goes with which genre. If they think I am writing fantasy, then my belligerent witches must go on a Quest armed only with swords and spells and either on foot or horseback; and if what I am doing is to be science fiction, no one aboard my starship is allowed magic, but only scientific principles not altogether yet proven, such as an ability to travel faster than light.

    I hate that. I hate being confined by expectations, by labels. Genres are helpful for libraries and book stores. I suppose they are helpful for some readers, too. But they are not helpful for writers. Or at least, not when they act like horizontal bars (cages) instead of vertical guides (railings).


Thanks for all your suggestions and feedback, re: the social media dilemma. I took some initials steps (i.e., started to privatize my photos, put ALL 700+ Facebook friends in lists, etc.) and I feel better knowing I have options.

This post might seem a bit ironic, given all that, but I don’t want to eliminate the personal aspect of my blog (or other social media). I just want to be careful with it. So with that in mind, here are a few pictures from my weekend. I went to visit my uncle, aunt, cousin, and cousin’s baby this weekend. Isn’t he a cute little bugger?

Ann Arbor visit 012 Ann Arbor visit 039
Left side: Playing. Right side: Eating mashed chicken for the first time.

I also got my first “tour” of the University of Michigan, and it was lovely. But then, I’m a sucker for fall leaves, climbing ivy, and 1800s architecture.

Ann Arbor visit 021

Ann Arbor visit 025

Ann Arbor visit 034

Overall I was really impressed with the quiet beauty of Ann Arbor. I also loved getting to know my family a bit better, and I enjoyed catching up with my old buddy Albert. Emphasis on old, hehehe.

Social media dilemma

This issue has been brewing in my mind for a while, but a few random things (including Allison Winn Scotch’s post yesterday) brought the question to the forefront this week:

Am I managing my online presence properly?

I have always been a fairly open book, in real life and on the internet. But as I think about how I’d like my writing career to progress, I wonder if I should be taking measures to guard the privacy of my friends and family. Fortunately authors don’t face as much crazy as actors or musicians, but then again, it doesn’t take much crazy to cause trouble. Furthermore, some people just don’t want to be in — or even near — the spotlight. As a writer/blogger, I’ve signed up for that possibility, but my friends and family didn’t. I want to be mindful of that.

So here’s how I break things down when I think about my online presence:

1. Blog

Between the ages of 9 and 21, I had several different blogs (all of them ridiculous in retrospect). Upon graduating, I promptly deleted them and started this one. I wanted to document and reflect upon my journey to publication (and beyond), but I wanted to be professional about it too. For the most part, I think I achieve that here.

2. Twitter

This is my playground. And just like in elementary school, playground time is short and sweet. I don’t say much of substance there; it’s more conversational, more one-liners.

3. Flickr

I love photography, and I take a lot of photos. I like to share those photos, but I’m going to start cutting back on what’s public and making older photos private. No one wants to see 100 snapshots of my dog anyway.

4. Facebook

Ah, here’s the real problem. Facebook is, or can be, both personal and professional. It’s a great way to connect with people, but then that flow of information goes both ways and is hard to control. So how and where do you draw the line?

No, really, how and where? That’s what I want to know. What do you guys do? Do you have any suggestions for me? And more broadly, what do you like/dislike about the way authors and other celebrities present themselves online?

Honestly, this stuff stresses me out, and sometimes I’m tempted to delete everything and go hide in a hole somewhere. (Is that a viable social media strategy?)

National Crazy People Month

For those who don’t know, November is known within the writing community as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The idea is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s an average of 1,667 words per day — you know, easy peasy.

(Haha, not.)

I’ve participated 2 or 3 times, I think, and never won. I’m just not that speedy. But I always find this time of year exciting, as people gear up — together — to reach their lofty goals. Everyone is full of enthusiasm and ideas and advice. For example…

  • Tips from a NaNo vet
    Erin is a NaNo pro, and she’s put together a list of really helpful advice for “winning” — or, you know, just getting through the month. (#4 is particularly important.)
  • Putting the NANO in NaNoWriMo
    Over at Writer Unboxed, Jael McHenry turned NANO into an easy-to-remember guide for writing, and I think it applies far beyond November.
  • NaNoReaMo
    Natalie Whipple puts her own spin on the month of November, choosing to binge on reading instead of writing. Personally I think that’s just as valuable.
  • NaKnitBloPoMo
    Last but not least, my sister Alex has started a new blog, inspired by NaNoWriMo, where she will attempt to post 50,000 words about knitting — what it means to her, tips and tricks, specific projects, etc.

What about y’all? What are you doing for November? Writing, reading, knitting? Or just a whole lotta Thanksgiving eating?

Note: if you’re eligible, don’t forget to vote tomorrow! It’s our right, our privilege, and our responsibility.

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